Grapeseed Extract

Grapeseed Extract

Grape seed extract, which comes from the plant Vitis vinifera, is a natural substance that can be taken in capsules or tablets. Most of the time, winemakers give the grape seeds that are used to make it. Grapes and grape seed extract (GSE) have been used in food and medicine for a very long time.

Since the time of ancient Greece, people have used different parts of the grape as medicine. People say that the Egyptians and Europeans of the past also used grapes and grape seeds.

Good for your health

Today, we know that grape seed extract has an antioxidant called oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC). OPC is thought to help improve some health problems.

Few and sometimes contradictory scientific studies show that grape seed
extract may help with the following health problems:

  • Chronic vein problems and swelling1
  • Healing a wound
  • Skin (anti-aging and UV protection)
  • Glare causes eye strain.
  • Macular degeneration caused by ageing
  • Infection by a virus
  • A lot of cholesterol
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart trouble
  • Excess weight2
  • Grape seed extract is used by people who practise alternative medicine to help with the following:
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Constipation
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

Performance in sports

There isn’t much scientific evidence for these possible benefits of grape seed extract. There isn’t enough proof yet to say for sure if grape seed extract can help any of these problems.

Researchers have looked into the following other benefits that are said to come from grape seed extract.

Grape seed proanthocyanidin extracts are some of the most powerful antioxidants we know of. They are 50 times more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than vitamin C.3

Cancer

Scientists have shown that grape seed can help fight free radicals, which are chemical byproducts that cause inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are linked to cancer.4 However, it is still not clear if grape seed extract also lowers the risk of cancer in people.

Small studies have shown that people who took GSE had higher levels of antioxidants in their bodies.5 A review of 19 human trials done in 2021 also found that people who took grape seed extract supplements had much less oxidative stress. But there wasn’t much of a change in the signs of inflammation.

But so far, not many studies have been done on people, and the ones that have are often contradictory. Because of this, there isn’t enough evidence to know how these benefits affect humans.

Cardiovascular Health

Grape seed extract might be good for your heart. Some studies have shown that it may slightly improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and C-reactive protein.78 However, the evidence is mixed, and other studies have shown that it has no effect on the same measures.

Grape seed extract may protect the heart more in obese people. In a small study of 40 people, taking GSE supplements and following a low-calorie diet for 12 weeks made several risk factors for heart disease better, such as cholesterol levels.

In another small study, the same group of researchers found that obese people who took 300 mg of grape seed extract every day had a smaller waist circumference and less inflammation in their bodies.

Diabetes

Some research suggests that grape seed extract can help people with diabetes. A review of 15 small studies published in 2020 found that grape seed extract lowered fasting blood sugar but had no effect on HbA1c, which is a more accurate and longer-term way to measure blood sugar levels.7 Another review found that it may also improve LDL, total, and blood pressure cholesterol.

Grape seed extract can thin the blood, and it may change how the liver works and how it breaks down medicines. Make sure to talk to a doctor or nurse before you use it.

Blood Pressure Too High

As with other signs of heart health, the evidence about how grape seed extract affects blood pressure is mixed. A 2016 meta-analysis of 16 small clinical trials found that grape seed extract lowered blood pressure a little bit overall, but it helped people more who were younger, heavier, or had a metabolic condition like metabolic syndrome.13 The authors of the study said that a large-scale clinical trial is needed.

If you have high blood pressure, you shouldn’t take a lot of grape seed extract and vitamin C at the same time. The National Institutes of Health say that the combination could make blood pressure go up.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Some evidence suggests that grape seed extract could help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. In tests on mice, scientists found that grape seed extract reduced inflammation and stopped the buildup of substances that are known to cause Alzheimer’s disease plaques in the brain.15 However, most of the evidence for this benefit comes from tests on animals and in labs. We need to learn more about people.

Possible Side Effects

When taken by mouth, grape seed extract is well tolerated by most people. But it can sometimes make you sick or give you a headache, a dry or itchy scalp, dizziness, or nausea.

How to take it and make it

Because there isn’t enough research to back it up, it’s too soon to say what dose of grape seed extract is best for health. In research, different amounts of the extract have been used.

For example, studies have used doses ranging from 100 mg to 400 mg every day for six to twelve weeks. But your doctor may tell you to take a different amount based on your gender, age, weight, and health history.

Talk to your primary care provider first if you want to use grape seed extract. Self-treating an illness and avoiding or putting off standard care could lead to serious problems.

Where to Look

Grape seed extract comes in liquid, capsules, and tablets. Oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC), which is a type of antioxidant, can be found in extracts of grape skin and grape seeds.

The National Institutes of Health says that before you buy this or any other supplement, you should look for a Supplement Facts label on the product.16 This label will tell you how much of the active ingredient is in each serving as well as information about any other added ingredients.

In the US and some other countries, there aren’t many rules about dietary supplements, and they aren’t tested to make sure they are safe. Because of this, the contents of some products may not match what is written on the label. If you decide to take this supplement, look for one that has a seal of approval from a third-party organisation that tests products for quality, like the U.S. ConsumerLab.com, NSF International, and Pharmacopeia.

Also, keep in mind that the safety of supplements for children, women who are pregnant or nursing, people with health problems, or people who are taking medications has not always been proven.

Common Questions

If I eat grapes, will I get the same health benefits as if I took grape seed extract?

Grapes can be a very healthy snack, but the extract will have a much higher concentration of the antioxidant OPC than a single serving of grapes.

What kind of grapes are the healthiest for me?

Any kind of grape is good for you, just like any other whole fruit. Red wine grapes are the ones that are most often looked at for their health benefits. These grapes are sometimes sold in grocery stores, but not always.

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